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Looking for some free days out in January?
Welcome back to our monthly roundup of the best free things to do with children in the capital (and beyond). I’m Emmy and for the last six years I’ve been hunting down the best events and hangouts for Londoners with young kids and writing about them on my blog, bablands.com.
I’ve learnt a lot about kids’ activities since I started blogging, but one of my most surprising discoveries is that the best stuff is so often free. With that in mind, I’ll be partnering with MoneyMagpie each month to bring you the best free days out for families in London and beyond.
This month we’re embracing the fresh start that 2023 brings, with a chance to welcome the Lunar New Year at the National Maritime Museum’s special family event, featuring traditional dancing and themed workshops, and a spectacular Scots-style celebration at the National Museum of Scotland’s Sprogmanay.
We’ll be relishing every second of daylight that the slightly longer days bring, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be making the most of January’s still admittedly pretty long evenings. Glittering light trails including Cardiff’s The Light of Winter (which comes accompanied this month by an inspiring children’s art workshop) and Canary Wharf’s popular Winter Lights will be cheering up the chilly evenings.
Or, if they fancy something a little less outdoorsy and a little more creative, Rosie Gibbens’ dynamic Moving Bodies workshop at the Whitechapel Gallery and Annie Montgomerie’s woolly-jumper-clad critters at Yorkshire Sculpture Park should keep them captivated (and cosy).
Join artist Rosie Gibbens for this collaborative session for under-5s and their families on the 7th, and play with unusual objects and materials inspired by Rosie’s art practice and the gallery’s Moving Bodies, Moving Images exhibition.
The artist’s giant 10m-diameter Earth sculpture will be popping up at an as-yet-undisclosed location in London from the 18th-28th. The installation aims to create a sense of the Overview Effect, features of which include a feeling of awe for the planet.
The seventh edition of this popular illuminated trail is set to feature more than 20 light installations. Highlights include a family of giant mammoths and an immersive fibre-optic tunnel. Catch it from the 18th-28th.
Head to the museum’s Exhibition Explorer event on the 19th and catch the Hieroglyphs: Unlocking Ancient Egypt exhibition for free while little ones explore themed activity stations including the stone carvers’ station, scribes’ area and papyrus factory.
Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit in style on the 21st with live music and lion dances, as well as family workshops featuring hands-on activities, craft sessions and games – including the chance to create your own lantern and learn to play Mahjong.
There are some other great free days out in January scattered across the country.
Sprogmanay is back at Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland on the 1st, featuring musical madness from Mr Fibbers, New Year’s resolutions and a unicorn dance party.
Head to Cardiff Museum from the 5th-7th and join local author and illustrator Jack Skivens for an arts and crafts workshop inspired by Cardiff’s new light and sound installation ‘The Light of Winter’.
On the 20th, Weston-super-Mare’s The Campus will host a special children’s author event with Tom Percival, author of Ruby Finds a Worry, Perfectly Norman, and Ravi’s Roar!
Annie Montgomerie’s Hand Me Downs exhibition features a menagerie of expressive anthropomorphic creatures that convey a range of magnified childlike emotions, and is on at the Yorkshire Sculpture park throughout January.
Do you know of any free days out in January? Let us know in the comments below!